The­atre am­bi­tion takes cen­tre stage

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

ASH­FORD’S artis­tic and cul­tural life – or, some might ar­gue, lack of it – dom­i­nated dis­cus­sion at the coun­cil’s re­vamped State of the Bor­ough pub­lic de­bate last week. The evening saw more ques­tions asked on arts fund­ing and the de­vel­op­ment of St Mary’s church than any other sub­ject. So the amount of fund­ing avail­able to arts or­gan­i­sa­tions, plans for a new the­atre, plans to re­move the pews at St Mary’s church to cre­ate an arts and com­mu­nity cen­tre, planned cuts to the coun­cil’s arts bud­get and plans for a rail­way mu­seum all fea­tured. Coun­cil­lors were left in no doubt that there is a gen­eral de­sire for things to im­prove in the town and that, de­spite what might hap­pen as far as St Mary’s Church is con­cerned, there is still a feel­ing that Ash­ford needs a ded­i­cated the­atre. Given that Ash­ford is said to be the fastest grow­ing town in Kent, then maybe it’s time that more se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion be given to en­hanc­ing our artis­tic and cul­tural as­sets. Of course the ob­vi­ous ques­tion is who’s go­ing to pay for it. Well, mil­lions of pounds was found for the ring road changes and the cre­ation of shared space, and hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds is be­ing spent im­prov­ing the rail­way sta­tion. Maybe Ash­ford’s Fu­ture and Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil should now ex­am­ine the vi­a­bil­ity of a the­atre that many feel is long over­due.

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